Dwayne Freeman, owner of Appalachian Distillery, talked with Jim Matuga, host of The Positively West Virginia Podcast, about his business, his best business moment so far, the biggest challenge he is facing and his advice for new business owners.
Appalachian Distillery is a family-owned business that makes premium sour mash moonshine, whiskey and bourbon. They are a growing company that plans to employ up to eight people in the near future. They have the capacity to produce 12,000 gallons of moonshine per year. Appalachian Distilleries has been recognized as a must-see attraction for tourism in West Virginia.
How did you get started in this business?
“As you know, making moonshine has been a part of our heritage. It’s been made for hundreds of years. It may have been made way before I opened these doors,” said Freeman, a former coal miner. “I was pretty good at it. So I thought one day I would see where the coal mines were going and decided to take it legal and sell it here.”
What was been your best business moment so far?
“My worst business moment was when a company rejected me,” Freeman said. “The best was when they called me and wanted my product.”
“Also, when I worked in the mines, I saw where it was headed, and I started working on the business plan and budget,” Freeman said. “They wanted me to move to another state, and I thought ‘I’m not moving again.’ The day they laid me off, I already had my plan. I stopped at a commercial chain here and they were on board, and said ‘yes, we will take your product.’”
What is one of the big challenges you face right now?
“The biggest challenge is having working capital,” Freeman said. “As you grow, you need capital to grow. If you’re opening up a business, you have to make sure you can grow with it.”
What is one piece of advice you would give an entrepreneur?
“You have to have passion, and you have to let that passion show through to your customers and your clients,” Freeman said. “And, be surrounded by people who are positive and who believe in you.”
Listen to Freeman’s full podcast here.
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